Secret societies have existed throughout history, but which ones are they in the modern world, and how much influence do they really have?
There is incontrovertible evidence that several influential ‘secret’ societies do exist, but opinions vary enormously on quite what effect they have on the world in general. In fact, many of the so-called ‘secret societies’ are not secret at all; their very existence is well known. What is secret is what they involve themselves in, what their purposes are, what they discuss and what they decide, which is generally not specifically known and is therefore of some concern if not outright fear to those who are not informed about their machinations, and who believe that they may be effected in some way.
Authoritative commentators list three pre-eminent ‘secret’ societies – Bilderbergs, Freemasons, and Skull and Bones – agreeing that they are the most influential.
Bilderbergs was formed most recently, in 1954, and their persistent aim is somewhat utopian – a world with one government, therefore one global trading system, one defence force (against whom?), all regulated financially by one ‘world bank’. However, the original purpose was to counter widespread negative reaction to US influence in Europe following World War Two – almost inevitable as many countries were beholden to the donations distributed through The Marshall Plan, but which inevitably spread to political and military influence – and so to effectively strengthen the Atlantic alliance.
Bilderbergs is therefore exclusively a European and US society, with attendees at meetings comprising 30% prominent politicians, and the rest from finance, academia, industry, communications and labor. Meetings are held under Chatham House Rules – details of discussions are never disclosed to non-attendees. However, such is the status of the society’s members that the inevitable impression is that their decisions will have an effect on at least political events in the future, and therefore on many other aspects of life.
Bilderbergs is reputed to control the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which influences US international policy, and the US Trilateral Commission (TC) which specifically promotes Bilderbergs agenda, and whose members have included every US Secretary of State since WW2. Recent Bilderbergs meetings have included Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Christine Legarde, Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, George Soros, and David Rockefeller who is also chairman of CFR. With such heavyweight members, it’s small wonder that outsiders are somewhat fearful of the deliberations and subsequent effect of this secretive – if not secret – society.
The Freemasons was formed in London in 1717, comprising originally of men supposedly combining just to improve their lot in life, but suspicion of (at least) quasi-religious worship – supposedly of Satan – and occupation or manipulation of powerful positions in government have dogged the organisation almost from their beginning, with some justification.
Again, the US has been dominated by Freemasons – George Washington was a member, actually a Master Mason, and employed a fellow (French) mason to design his capitol, with the mason’s insignia formed by the pentagram of the city’s plan. Subsequently, several presidents have been members, including Andrew Jackson, both Roosevelts and Gerald Ford, as was J. Edgar Hoover when head of the CIA, but several noted artistes too – Ben Franklin, Paul Revere and Francis Scott Key among them. Further, famous personalities who were masons include Mark Twain, Harry Houdini, Oscar Wilde and Mozart, as well as John Wayne and Clark Gable.
Obviously, several realms of society have been infiltrated, which tends to confirm that the suspected objective of the Freemasons is to dominate power at all levels of life. Among many accusations of diabolical freemasonry, the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Princess Diana and Pope John Paul I are a few. Plus manipulating the justice systems of the USA and UK, actually faking the first moon landing (but the others?), and somehow (unexplained) orchestrating the 9/11 attacks.
Suffice to say that secrecy breeds all sorts of suspicions, but usually with foundation and almost always unproven.
Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones is ironically the most famous ‘secret’ society in the US, founded in 1832 at Yale University by William Russell and Alphonso Taft – father of President Taft and Secretary of War under President Grant. Although seen originally as just a student body, many members would become part of a secretive(!) network of men both powerful and rich, and in particular have included members of the Carnegie, Rockefeller and Ford families – ‘money talks’ – as well as several taking senior posts in the CIA, and becoming members of the previously mentioned influential CFR think tank.
Many members’ names will be unfamiliar to the general population, but the positions held are significant; they include Pierre Jay, the first chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; John Chafee, US Senator, Secretary of the Navy and Governor of Rhode Island; Winston Lord, CFR Chairman and ambassador to China; Raymond Price, speechwriter for Presidents Nixon, Ford and Bush; US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart; and John Kerry, former US Senator and current Secretary of State.
The Skull and Bones are particularly influential given the size of the group – each year only 15 extra members are admitted, so at any one time there are only about 800 living members.
The Bones’ assets are considerable too, managed by the Russell Trust Association founded in 1856 by William Russell and Daniel Coit Gilman, later the first president of the Carnegie Institution. Included is Deer Island, in the St. Lawrence River, New York.
The names and positions occupied give considerable credence to the suspicion that the Skull and Bones are a significantly influential organisation, outside the control of a supposedly democratic governmental system.
Two other secret societies are worth mentioning, genuinely for their secretiveness, as much as for whether they in fact have much of an influence in the modern world.
The Rosicrucian Order
The Rosicrucian Order was founded in modern times in 1607, supposedly to inform more people of esoteric (little known) and largely mystical knowledge, but its roots are far back in Egyptian antiquity, re-appearing during the time of Charlemagne around 800 AD. It remains the domain of (supposedly) educated philosophers of many genre, but in the 17th and 18th centuries, their manifestos promoted the existence of a secret society of sages and alchemists whose objective was to transform the political, intellectual, scientific and religious basis of the (then) civilised world.
Various groups exist in the modern world – Christian, Freemasonic and Initiatory – each with a similar objective of enlightening the world to the aforementioned mystical teachings of ancient history, even though secrecy is their by-word. Their influence today is assessed as peripheral at best.
The Illuminati was founded in Bavaria in 1776, unusually to counter (religious) superstition despite the founder being a Jesuit, Adam Weishaupt – although the order itself being somewhat radical – and its influence over public life, plus abuses of political power; in those days, the two were often linked, and some would argue that is still the case, for example given the financial strength of the Vatican and the number of catholics in positions of political power around the world.
It’s unclear whether the organisation continues to exist – or has been reborn – as there is no concrete evidence that the Illuminati has any influence in the modern world, although several powerful people and/or celebrities are suspected of being members, including Bono, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Michael Jackson. Their alleged effect is that world events and the media are being manipulated, with the objective of forming a One World Government based on humanist, but atheist principles. Although previously mentioned personalities are certainly philanthropists, running any world order would appear to be outside their capabilities.
Finally, there is a strong suspicion(!) that ‘secret societies’ exist partly because they are exactly that, and the rest of the population has a continuing fascination with such organisations, imagined or not. There is no doubt that membership of one or two of them – with constituents of like mind – are able to influence world events, but that would be so anyway because of their public offices, but the consequences of their discussions and subsequent determinations are hardly ‘secret’ – just look at the world around you today!